Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” – John 18:10-11.

And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. – Luke 22:47-51.

A 19-year-old woman in Jacksonville, Florida did try to do the right thing but no one listened. There was a snake on her porch, and since she was living in an apartment complex she contacted the apartment manager for help. The manager told her that snake removal was not in their job description, or at least was not the responsibility of the management. Shatavia Kearney was faced with doing something about the snake herself, and so she poured a flammable liquid on the snake and set it on fire. However, the vinyl siding on the porch caught on fire, which caused a thousand dollars in damage. Thankfully, the fire was put out and no one was injured. However, the snake did manage to escape!

The apostle Peter in the years following the arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus was probably asked on occasion, about why he attacked the High Priest’s servant. Peter may have rationalized what he did by saying that the Lord had insisted that they should have swords (Luke 22:36-38) and since they had been told to have swords should they have not used them? Then, Peter may have said that you know I just cut off his ear, and the Lord put it back on – so what’s the big deal? I think that Peter’s intention was not to cut off the servant’s ear, but to cut off his head. Peter fully intended to do that; however, using a heavy large sword takes practice. Peter was a fisherman, and had never received much instruction in swordsmanship.

Dictionary.com defines overreacting as, “To react with unnecessary or inappropriate force, emotional display, or violence.” In the case of the snake, Shatavia, did use “inappropriate force” and most likely, it was with an “emotional display.” I understand completely because snakes make me very uncomfortable too. We can understand Peter’s reaction as well; although as it turned out it was unnecessary, inappropriate, and an emotional display. It almost cost Peter his life, and if the Lord had not healed the servant’s ear, it would have. The reaction of Shatavia, also was very dangerous and could have resulted in her losing her life or even, harming many more people.

The apostle Peter who had once drawn the sword to kill the servant of the High Priest with the benefit of many years of hindsight writes, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love (2 Peter 1:5-7). Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious (1 Peter 2:1). And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed (1 Peter 3:13-14). For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil (1 Peter 3:17).”

For the apostle Peter overreaction became self-control. Let us learn from these great words of wisdom that Peter shares. Let us grow in the Lord, and overcome the temptation to overreact.

(There is a temptation to overreact to different situations and cause harm to yourself and others, including the Kingdom of God.)

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